We continue the Locum Doctors trilogy, celebrating Big Finish’s 200th Main Range story, with a tale that matches Ol’ Sixey with the classic Troughton-era companions Zoe and Jamie – and with an auld enemy who made several appearances over the course of that era…
Big Finish Folly, Part ℑ – Last of the Cybermen, by Alan Barnes
It’s a gigantic monument – a massive cyber-head, located out in the fringes of known space. Ten years after the end of the great Cyber Wars, Zennox and her team have come to excavate and explore the place. The Doctor has come too, drawn by a message that doesn’t make sense. When he realises the danger he is in, he flees back to the Tardis – but the Doctor Jamie and Zoe are expecting has been replaced by a fiery chap in multi-coloured clothing…
It’s a better effort, this substitution – after all, it’s been done before in a manner of speaking, both on TV and on audio. Zoe and Jamie have a history with Ol’ Sixey, even if they don’t realise it. Once they get over their natural reluctance to accept this interloper as The Doctor, there’s a good-natured, boisterous level of banter between Jamie and the Timelord. Jamie is torn between protecting Zoe from whatever’s around them and proving himself to the Doctor.
The plot is wild and unlikely – Lancastrian Cybermen? time loops and warp space? Zoe as a Cyber-planner? – but once you place it alongside Tomb of the Cybermen (for example) and imagine Patrick Troughton in the role instead, it does actually fit fairly well into that era. Nicholas Briggs as Lanky is still a bit too over the top to take entirely seriously (which is a good thing, as it turns out, because he’s playing a partially cyberised man who hasn’t actually been cyberised at all and is just pretending to have been that way for the last ten years because…yes, SPOILERS….) Lucy Liemann’s Zennox, meanwhile, is perfectly off her rocker and gets the sort of comeuppance that, again, Tomb of the Cybermen would have been proud of.
If there’s still no real hint as to what’s really going on with the time streams or the reason for these substituted incarnations, there’s at least a decent bit of late 60s space peril. And there are enough references to the continuity of the TV series to keep the canon-geeks happy until the last tale in this trilogy comes around. While certainly not a classic of the range, it’s an interesting companion piece to the rest of Jamie McCrimmon’s travels with the Doctor.